Laura Gruber EWCL Executive Director
Wildlife Conservation Network
Nina Fascione Chair
International Rhino Foundation & EWCL Co-founder
Nina Fascione is the Executive Director of International Rhino Foundation where she oversees the organizations administration, strategic plan and conservation programs in support of all rhino species. Prior to this Nina served as Vice President of Philanthropy at Defenders of Wildlife in Washington, D.C., where she oversaw the organization’s efforts to raise funds from major and planned gifts, foundations and corporations for strategic conservation work. Nina previously served as Executive Director of Bat Conservation International, where she guided the Austin, Texas-based organization in its efforts to protect bats and their habitats around the world. Additionally, Nina was Vice President for Field Conservation Programs at Defenders of Wildlife, where she managed Defenders’ largest division, dedicated to endangered species and habitat conservation. She has also held positions with the Wildlife Habitat Council and the Zoological Society of Philadelphia. Nina serves on Ewaso Lions Board of Directors and was co-chair of the American Zoo and Aquarium’s Bat Taxon Advisory Group. Nina has a Master of Applied Anthropology and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Maryland, and edited the book “People and Predators: From Conflict to Coexistence.” Nina is the co-founder and Board co-Chair of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders program, which provides mentoring and conservation campaign and leadership training for emerging leaders in the conservation field.
Jeff Flocken Chair
Humane Society International & EWCL Co-founder
Jeffrey Flocken is the President of the Humane Society International where he oversees all of HSI’s campaign and advocacy work outside of the United States on behalf of animals around the globe. Prior to this, Mr. Flocken worked as the North American Regional Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and prior to that he worked for the US Government, where he focused on international species conservation policy, outreach, and global conservation grant programs. Mr. Flocken has served as a consultant on numerous movies, books and television shows addressing wildlife conservation topics. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Jaguar Conservation Fund and the GRACE Grauer's Gorilla Sanctuary, as well as the Steering Committee for the IUCN Tapir Specialist Group. Mr. Flocken is also the co-founder and Board co-Chair of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders initiative which mentors and provides campaign training for up-and-coming leaders in the wildlife field. He is co-author of the award-winning book “Wildlife Heroes,” published by Running Press in March 2012.
One Nature Institute & Caribbean EWCL Director
Beth is the Founder and President of OneNature, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving wellbeing in conservation and researching the true values of wildlife to people. With more than 25 years of experience in conservation, animal welfare, and community development, her mission is to help people recognize, value, champion, and act to protect the wellbeing and interconnection of all beings and the planet. Before founding One Nature, Beth was the US Director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare. She led a team of conservation and animal welfare experts, and conceptualized, established, and led IFAW’s work integrating animals and human wellbeing to create system change. Beth is proud to serve on several advisory boards, including the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL.) Beth is also a member of several IUCN commissions, including the Commission on Environmental, Economic, and Social Policy (CEESP), the Commission on Ecosystem Management Commission (CEM), and the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA). Earlier in her career, Beth was the Senior Policy Advisor for International Government Relations at The Nature Conservancy and the Congressional Liaison and the Government Aid Agency Liaison at the World Wildlife Fund. Beth has also worked for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for the Caribbean and Latin America Bureau, Peace Corps Headquarters, and The National Wildlife Federation.
Sara Barth is the Executive Director for the Sempervirens Fund, where she leads the 116-year-old land trust in protecting and caring for the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains – a mission the organization continues since its initial protection of lands that became Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Prior to joining Sempervirens she was the regional director for The Wilderness Society’s California/Nevada office, providing oversight of the organization’s work to protect the Sierra Nevada, Yosemite, the Black Rock Desert, Big Sur, the California Desert, and other public lands in the two states. Sara has also served as an environmental advisor in Washington, D.C. to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). In that capacity, she worked extensively on federal legislation governing management of our national forests, parks and wildlife refuges, wilderness designation, wildlife conservation, offshore oil and gas drilling, and ocean and fishery restoration. Sara’s previous professional experience also includes work for the National Wildlife Federation and the World Wildlife Fund as an advocate for federal wildlife and public land protections. She earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment.
National Geographic Society
Colby Bishop is the director of wildlife programs at the National Geographic Society. In that role, she is responsible for a portfolio of impact-based programs—including Sumatran Rhino Rescue, the Big Cats Initiative, the National Geographic Photo Ark, and Wildlife Watch—with the overall vision to explore, protect, and promote species diversity. Bishop has worked for the National Geographic Society for over 12 years. She received an M.B.A. from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland and a B.A. from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York.
North American Association for Environmental Education
Judy Braus joined the North American Association for Environmental Education in December 2011 as Executive Director. She has been actively involved in national and international environmental education efforts for more than 25 years, with a focus on strategic planning, facilitation, leadership development, partnerships, publishing, fundraising, and diversity and inclusion. She has published extensively and has won numerous awards for her work in education and conservation. Prior to coming to NAAEE, Judy was Senior Vice President of Education and Centers with the National Audubon Society. In that role, she oversaw all education activities, which included working with more than 50 Education Centers, 480 Audubon Chapters, 24 state programs, and Birdlife International, an international conservation organization dedicated to protecting birds, wildlife, and people. While there, Judy’s drive and dedication led to the development of TogetherGreen, a $20 million alliance between Audubon and Toyota. Before joining Audubon, Judy was the Director of Education for World Wildlife Fund-US (WWF), where she managed a variety of education initiatives, including the award-winning Windows on the Wild biodiversity education program.
Palm Beach Zoo
Renee Bumpus is the Chief Animal Conservation Officer at the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society and has more than 20 years’ experience in wildlife conservation. She has managed numerous international wildlife conservation partner relationships and has designed and managed many effective conservation campaigns to protect wildlife. Currently working as a wildlife scholar for the Principia College Alumni Africa Program, Renee also serves on the board of directors of Longneck Manor, advising on giraffe conservation, and has spent 10 years as a board member of the Center for Conservation Peacebuilding.
Conservation Planning Specialist Group
Onnie earned her Ph.D. in reproductive physiology from the University of Minnesota and completed a post doctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo in Washington D.C. Onnie joined the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, now known as the Conservation Planning Specialist Group, in 1991 as a Program Officer and was promoted to the position of Executive Director in 2005, and appointed Chair in 2011. In addition to leading the organization, Onnie oversees its global climate change initiative and shares with CPSG’s Program Officers responsibility for design and facilitation of a wide range of Species Conservation Planning and other CPSG workshops. Onnie is dedicated to the transfer of these tools and processes to conservationists around the world. Onnie was integral in the establishment of the Amphibian Ark and continues to serve on its executive committee. She also serves on the SSC Steering Committee, the Species 360 Board of Trustees, and the Conservation and Sustainability Committee of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Impact by Design
Amielle DeWan is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Impact by Design where she works with non-profits to implement best practices in designing and implementing whole systems approaches to impact-oriented monitoring, evaluation and adaptive management. Amielle's specific expertise and specialties include: monitoring and evaluation, research design, training design, facilitation, institutional learning and adaptive management, behavior change, project management, and leadership development. Previously, Amielle was the Senior Research and Monitoring Scientist for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) where she was responsible for the development and implementation of monitoring and evaluation across IFAW’s programs. In this role, Amielle also designed and implemented adult and learner-centered training programs on behavior change, conservation planning, and research. Previous to her work at IFAW, Amielle served as the Senior Director for Conservation Research and Monitoring at Rare where she was responsible for evaluating and improving the impact of environment-focused behavior change campaigns across the globe. As an expert in strategic planning, monitoring, and evaluation, she also plays an active role in the Conservation Measures Partnership. Amielle serves on a number of professional working groups and boards including: the IUCN Species Conservation Planning Subcommittee, the Environmental Leadership Program (board chair), and the Open Standards Planning Guidance Review Committee. Amielle received her PhD in Wildlife Ecology, Statistics, and GIS from Cornell University in 2008. She also holds a Master’s degree in Conservation Biology and Public Policy from the State University of New York, Albany, and a BA in Biology from SUNY Binghamton.
World Wildlife Fund
Nilanga Jayasinghe is a manager on the Wildlife Conservation team at World Wildlife Fund, focusing on Asian species, particularly elephants, rhinos, tigers, and snow leopards. With nearly 20 years of extensive experience in international species conservation, she has worked on conservation issues across the board with expertise in human-wildlife conflict management, Asian elephants, strategic planning, connectivity conservation, protected area management, and capacity building, among others. She is a member of the Asian Elephant Specialist Group and the Asian Rhino Specialist Group under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the Species Survival Commission, and a member of the Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group under the IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas.
In her role, Nilanga works with WWF field teams and partners in Asia, furthering conservation efforts on the ground for WWF’s priority flagship species. She provides technical support for species conservation, manages numerous projects with field teams, and mobilizes resources to accomplish conservation activities. In addition, she works with global partners to develop and implement initiatives that harmonize species conservation with broader conservation goals.
Prior to WWF, Nilanga gained experience in both terrestrial and marine conservation issues during her time at Defenders of Wildlife and Oceana and volunteered with Ewaso Lions. Nilanga is an alumna of the 2007/2008 class of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders program. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Whittier College and a Master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
Benjamin Jones grew up near Houston exploring the pine forests and beaches of the upper Gulf coast. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science and a master’s degree in veterinary anatomy – reproductive physiology. After graduate school, Ben worked for Accenture as a business analyst and then served the National Audubon Society for seven years in multiple roles including Texas state director of education. Ben also served the Dallas Zoo for 15 years in various capacities including senior director of conservation. In 2020, he joined the Texas affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation as executive director leading initiatives to protect Texas wildlife and their habitats across the state. Ben now serves as Houston Zoo’s senior director of wildlife conservation where he is responsible for the strategic direction of the Zoo’s work saving wildlife locally, regionally, and around the world. Interested in social science, community-based conservation, everything sweet, and all things animal; Ben is passionate about wildlife conservation as a context for life-long learning, stronger communities, and enriched life.
Kelly Keenan Aylward
Wildlife Conservation Society
Kelly Keenan Aylward runs the Washington Office of the Wildlife Conservation Society and has headed up their Federal Affairs Program for the past five years. She works on domestic and international conservation policy and corresponding funding issues with the US Congress, the Administration and key stakeholders. Prior to working at the Wildlife Conservation Society, Kelly worked as the Director of Government Affairs for the National Environmental Education & Training Foundation in Washington, DC. As Legislative Counsel to Rep. Michael McNulty (D-NY), Kelly’s Capitol Hill work focused on appropriations, the environment, energy, education, agriculture, and animal welfare issues. After earning her Juris Doctor at Albany Law School of Union University, Albany, New York she clerked for the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division specializing in environmental quality review and land use planning appeals. Kelly was admitted to the Bar in New York State and United States District Court in 1998. Kelly and her husband Kevin have two sons Conner and Kyle.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Christopher Kuhar is the Executive Director of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Chris holds a PhD in Experimental Psychology from the Georgia Institute of Technology and has spent nearly 20 years in zoos, including Zoo Atlanta and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, focusing on the behavior and welfare of primates and evaluating the conservation impact of zoo-based conservation programs. Currently, Chris is working with his team on re-visioning Cleveland Metroparks Zoo as a global conservation agency and focusing on the care and welfare of wildlife around the world. The Future for Wildlife program unveiled in spring 2016 is the first step in completely integrating conservation action and impact evaluation into all programs within the park.
Global Wildlife Conservation
Dr. Barney Long works on the conservation of endangered species and the thematic approaches required to achieve the recovery of their populations. His work focuses on mammal conservation, but is engaged in the conservation of many taxa. He has engaged extensively in conservation initiatives for Saola, Sumatran and Javan rhino, Tiger, Gibbons, and a host of other species across the world. He has previously worked for FFI and WWF, and is currently Director of Species Conservation at Global Wildlife Conservation.
Barney started his career in Southeast Asia, exploring the region during baseline biodiversity inventory surveys and searching for presumed extinct primates. Initially using community-based and protected area approaches to conserve species, he expanded to the integration of species conservation within wider landscape and socio-economic development processes conducting his Ph.D. on strategic conservation planning in Vietnam at DICE.
Barney is a strong believer in the power of partnerships for conservation and is an active member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, and the SMART, Conservation Assured, and Zero Poaching partnerships. He is also a board member of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife. Barney is an advocate for developing the next generation of conservationists. He was technical advisor the Class 3 EWCL Saola project.
The Walt Disney Company
Claire Martin leads Disney’s philanthropic efforts to reverse the decline of wildlife through the Disney Conservation Fund. In her role as Sr. Manager of Strategic Philanthropy with Disney Corporate Social Responsibility, Claire is responsible for developing strategies to advance Disney’s conservation legacy and ensure maximum impact through the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF), an awards program focused on saving wildlife, inspiring action and protecting the planet. Since 1995, the Disney Conservation Fund has inspired millions of people to take action to protect the planet and directed more than $70 million to reverse the decline of wildlife in more than half the countries in the world. Claire started at Disney in 2005 as a Conservation Educator and Coordinator at The Seas at Epcot. In 2006, Claire transferred to a position working with the Disney Conservation Fund, which has evolved into her current role with Disney Corporate Social Responsibility. Claire graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Policy and Wildlife Conservation. Claire serves on the board for the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders initiative and is board chair of the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center.
World Wildlife Fund
Shaun Martin is WWF’s senior director for climate change adaptation and resilience and has more than 20 years’ experience in capacity building, training and leadership development. In his current role, he helps influence conservation and development policy and practice by bringing climate change and ecological dimensions to the broader adaptation and resilience discussion. He also helps WWF programs become “climate-smart,” making sure they are prepared to address the inevitable consequences of climate and their effects on biodiversity, people, and the ecosystems that they rely upon. He has designed and delivered training on climate change and adaptation to more than 1500 people across the globe. Shaun has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in economic development from the University of Pittsburgh. He currently serves on the board of directors for the School of Fields Studies. His hobbies are photography, yoga, and genealogy.
International Center for Tropical Agriculture
Javier Mateo-Vega holds a joint appointment as Global Director of Partnerships & Communications at the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and Senior Director of Partnerships at CGIAR. In these capacities, he leads globally distributed teams of experts on resource mobilization, communications, partnerships, capacity development, and external engagement for research for development.
Prior, Javier served as Director of the Environmental Leadership & Training Initiative (ELTI) of the Yale School of Environment, holding a joint appointment at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI; Panama). He also held positions at The Nature Conservancy and the Organization for Tropical Studies, both in Costa Rica.
Javier received his Ph.D. (Biology) from McGill University. His research focused on understanding how Indigenous peoples can participate fully and effectively at the local level in policy processes of global concern, such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and devolved forest management, which aim to arrest forest loss and contribute to international climate and biodiversity targets. He worked primarily in eastern Panama, including the Bayano region and Darien Gap, areas known for their magnificent forests and rich cultural diversity. He remains engaged in ongoing research in the region as part of the Scientific Committee of the Bacuru Droa Initiative (Old-Growth Forest in Emberá language) at STRI and McGill University. Javier has 25 years of experience providing technical and managerial leadership in natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, sustainable agriculture, capacity development, and ecological research in developing countries. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders Program and the Organization for Tropical Studies. A native of Costa Rica, Javier has lived in 11 countries in the Americas, Asia and Europe, and is an avid surfer, runner and art collector.
Errol is the former Executive Director of the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP). Errol managed the day-to-day operations of the organization in addition to the recruitment and selection process of ELP’s regional networks, oversaw the development and planning of fellowship programming and maintained ELP’s national network of 1,600+ Senior Fellows. In addition to ELP’s core fellowship programs, Errol co-designed the RAY Fellowship Program which focused on increasing diversity within the conservation, climate and clean energy spaces. Previously, Errol was a public health fellow at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency where he worked on community outreach programs and the development of international cohort studies to investigate the environment’s impact on children’s health and development. Errol served in the U.S. Peace Corps as a health volunteer in The Gambia, West Africa and was a Crisis Corps Volunteer in New Orleans, LA where he contributed to the response effort of Hurricane Katrina. Errol currently serves on the Board of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders Program, and is a former Board Director of Greenbelt Homes Inc., and the Greenbelt Development Corporation. In 2011 Errol was awarded a TogetherGreen Fellowship in recognition of his expertise in leadership and network weaving and in 2013 received an Emerging Leader Grant from the Claneil Foundation.
National Wildlife Federation
David Mizejewski is a naturalist, media personality, blogger and author with National Wildlife Federation, where he educates and inspires people to protect wildlife and connect with nature. He holds a degree in Human and Natural Ecology from Emory University. David hosted and co-produced Animal Planet’s Backyard Habitat, a television series that shows people how to transform their yards and gardens into thriving habitats for birds and other local wildlife. He has made numerous appearances the Today Show, Good Morning America, Conan, Access Hollywood, The Wendy Williams Show, The Martha Stewart Show, NPR, Fox News, CNN, HGTV, Sundance Channel and others discussing wildlife and conservation. David is the author of Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife, and is a contributor to Gardening How-To and Birds & Blooms magazines. He blogs for Animal Planet and Huffington Post.
Natural Resources Defense Council
Elizabeth Murdock is an independent consultant dedicated to protecting wildlife and building the capacity of conservation organizations. Throughout her career, Elizabeth has helped to advance to a broad range of conservation issues—both marine and terrestrial—in local, state, national, and international arenas. Areas of topical expertise include: shark conservation, illegal wildlife trade, illegal fishing, marine protected areas, and aspects of human/wildlife conflict. Drawing on this diverse background, Elizabeth brings expertise in policy, advocacy, and on-the-ground conservation, as well as executive leadership, organizational development, and fundraising, to her work. Elizabeth previously served as the Executive Director of the Golden Gate Audubon Society and Director of the Pacific Ocean Initiative at the Natural Resources Defense Council. She also previously led high-profile imperiled species campaigns at WildAid and the National Wildlife Federation. Elizabeth holds a degree in Humanities from Yale University, with post-graduate studies in environmental policy, Spanish, and creative writing. Elizabeth is based in San Francisco, California.
Dr. Jacqueline Ogden received her Ph.D. in general/experimental psychology, with a specialization in animal behavior, from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1992. Her background includes animal behavior research, education, animal management, and people management. Her research has focused on the impact of zoo-type environments on both human and non-human animals – including the impact these environments have on guests conservation-related knowledge, attitudes/affect, and behavior. In her most recent position as Vice President of Animals, Science and Environment Animal Programs and Environmental Initiatives for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Jackie oversaw animal collections across Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, including direct animal care, veterinary care, and education, scientific and conservation programs. Additionally, she oversaw environmental integration initiatives across Disney Parks, including ensuring accomplishment of environmental goals and targets. She is on the board of directors for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, and is Immediate Past Chair of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Krishna Roy is the Senior Advisor for Netcentric Campaigns and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. She has worked in the nonprofit sector for 25 years as a consultant and in senior management positions specializing in grant making, development, marketing, event planning, and public relations. She was the Branch Chief of Global Programs in the International Division of the USFWS, Vice President of the Center for Marine Conservation for Communications and Marketing. Other assignments include The Nature Conservancy, New York University, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. In addition to raising more than $65 million for various causes, she has been instrumental in developing groundbreaking environmental media and marketing campaigns involving public-private partnerships with Discovery Communications, Black Entertainment Television (BET), Telemundo, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Exxon, Arm and Hammer, Chevrolet, among others. Her experience includes directing communications activities for large institutions, including program design, media relations, publications, placements, and branding. In 1984, Krishna worked on the Oscar nominated film The Garden of Eden, and won a Telly in for co-producing the documentary “Killing our Oceans.” Krishna was a principal in designing and launching “Save the Tiger Fund,” an international grantmaking and awareness campaign, to protect tigers in the wild.
Julie’s lifelong love of all animals led Julie to careers as animal trainer, conservationist, and public educator. Julie’s credentials include her role as Corporate Director of Training and Animal Ambassador Programs for SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks, along with 20 years as wildlife spokesperson. Among many other appearances, Julie was the most frequent guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and appeared on the Today Show over 100 times discussing animals and conservation. Along with Jeff Flocken, Julie co-authored the book Wildlife Heroes, highlighting 40 conservationists and their life’s work to save imperiled species.
Julie has been recognized for her work in these fields with a variety of awards: a trainer’s association lifetime achievement award, a US Fish & Wildlife Service award for conservation, a collegiate Hall of Fame induction and an Emmy for educational programming to name a few.
With the goal of introducing and encouraging others to make a positive difference in the world we share, Julie now leads Mission Wildlife, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting species conservation.
White Oak Conservation
Brandon was born in rural Southeastern Ohio, where he developed a love of nature and the outdoors. He attended Bowling Green State University and completed his B.S. in biology and went on to gain his M.S. in biology at Wright State University. There he worked in an ecotoxicology lab, examining the effects of pollutants on the immune systems of fish-eating birds. Brandon started his conservation career as an animal specialist at the Wilds, a conservation facility in southeastern Ohio, where he developed the first behavioral inventory of an endangered antelope species and used it to implement a field study in China. In 2008, Brandon transitioned to White Oak Conservation, a 16,000+ acre conservation center in Northeast Florida, where he led the formation and development of White Oak’s foundational education department. Today Brandon is the Senior Director of Conservation at White Oak. He leads day-to-day management, communications, and strategic direction for White Oak’s conservation (in situ and ex-situ), education and training, and land stewardship programs. Brandon is an alumnus of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders program and has traveled to Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East in support of conservation initiatives. Brandon and his wife Mindy live in Jacksonville with their three children.
Wildlife Conservation Network & Save Pangolins
Paul specializes in highly threatened and endangered species conservation, incubating conservation startup projects, and building leadership capacity in the environmental field. Paul is the Director of Conservation Programs at the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN). He drives strategy, partnerships, and growth for the Lion Recovery Fund, and guides WCN’s Conservation Programs in priority setting and measuring success. In addition to his work with WCN, he runs Save Pangolins, a project he co-founded to address the illegal trade of the little-known pangolin, the world’s most trafficked mammal. Prior to WCN, Paul was a director of Ewaso Lions and helped start, grow, and run the project. Paul is an alum of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders program and now serves on the board. Paul holds a BSc from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources & Environment and received his Master’s from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. He was raised in the Bay Area and has come home to live in San Francisco.